There is a constant hype of new skin care products, daily routines and ‘ground breaking’ discoveries that are really more fiction than fact when it comes to your overall skin health. Specifically in the realm of tanning, there are so many variations of the truth. Let’s debunk some of the most common skincare myths, placing health as our #1 priority and getting the facts straight.
#1: “Getting a base tan before a vacation will protect your skin from sun damage”
This is one of the most common myths to date. Getting a base tan, or any sort of UV tan at all is doing the opposite of protecting your skin from sun damage, but only enhancing the damage. There is no such thing as a “healthy tan” from the sun. Why? Because when you expose your skin to UV rays you increase the risk of wrinkles, brown spots, and most importantly, skin cancer. A base tan provides only a very small amount of protection from sunburn. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime”. To avoid these risks apply a broad spectrum sunscreen. If you’re still looking to have some color pre-trip, opt for a fake tan instead. To ensure your body stays bronzed throughout your entire vacation, bring along a light tan extender and apply as needed! You can achieve the same results without the risk.
#2: “Tanning Booths are safe, as long as they don't contain UVB rays.”
Tanning bed companies often publicize that their machines do not contain UVB "burn" rays. Although that may be true, that does not make them safe. The UVA rays found in tanning beds actually penetrate deeper into your skin and cause early aging and skin cancer. So to remain on the “safe” side – steer clear from indoor tanning beds all together.
#3: “Woman of color don't get skin cancer.”
While people of color are less likely to get skin cancer, they are more likely to die from it due to a delay in detection. A study done by the Skin Cancer Foundation showed that in most cases of skin cancer in those with darker skin tones, the cancer was much more advanced by the time they began treatment. An example of this issue is Bob Marley, the famous musician died from melanoma at age 36.
#4: “Self-Tanners & Spray Tans offer protection from the sun.”
Although an airbrush application is the safest way to "tan", it will not protect your skin from sun damage. Some sunless tanners may contain SPF, but remember that the active ingredient will only provide protection for a few hours after it is applied, not for the full duration of the tan. So even if you are receiving a sunless tan regularly, adding SPF to your daily skin regimen is crucial to obtain 24/7 skin protection.
#5: “All moisturizers help to prolong the results of a sunless tan.”
While keeping your skin hydrated in general is important to ensure longer lasting results and even fading, some moisturizers will actually negatively affect your spray tan. Moisturizers that contain oils, chemicals, exfoliants or acne fighting ingredients will degrade your results quickly and unevenly. If oily lotions are applied before the airbrush application, they may even prevent the tan from developing on the skin altogether. To keep your skin hydrated before and after a spray tan session, use a water based moisturizer that is free of oils and chemicals.
#6: Moisturizing is bad for those with acne prone skin.
Allowing your skin to dry out makes it more prone to redness and wrinkles. It will also cause your body to send oil-producing glands into overdrive, making your skin even greasier. Use an oil-free moisturizer to keep skin hydrated, without clogging pores!
After dispelling these common skin misconceptions- it is always important to do your research. Rather than just accepting the rumors, look into what you hear and make sure that you place health as your #1 priority when making any decisions regarding your skin.